Sunday, February 27, 2011

One Pot Meal at Home

Ok, I got to blog about this as Mum has threatened not to cook for us anymore if I don't blog about her food. Moohahaha. home-cooked food is seriously under-rated!

Anyway, my mum's "simple" is often never really simple. But it is always special. Food cooked with love by loved ones for loved ones always is.

For a one-pot dinner at home one recent day (one pot meals are supposed to be simple), we had a bubbling cauldron of sliced beef, abalone, dried and fresh scallops, snow peas, fish maw, sea cucumber, Chinese black mushrooms, chicken pieces, fatt choy (sea moss), long cabbage etc in a flavourful milky stock made with ginger and dried scallops. What more would one wish for other than another big bowl of rice? :D

Chew On This: Because this won't be available at any restaurant!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Singapore Restaurant Week is Back!

Last year, introduced Singapore's first Restaurant Week and it was over-subscribed! As cliche as it sounds....How time flies, in a twinkle of an eye, Singapore Restaurant Week is back this year!

What exactly is Singapore Restaurant Week?

It's one week (21-27 March) where many of Singapore's restaurants offer an amazing $25++* for a 3-course lunch and $35++* for a 4-course dinner! This is a great chance for diners to experience different restaurants at an affordable price. This year's Restaurant Week includes 81 restaurants and counts Wild Rocket, FiftyThree, The White Rabbit, Table 66, KHA, Senso Ristorante & Bar, Novus Restaurant, Kinki and The Song of India among many others.

Book via now because seats are hot! I hear they will be releasing a little more extra seats due to the strong booking demand.

*Do note that for some restaurants, there is an additional supplementary charge. Please refer to their website.

Thanks to Carlyn of Sixth Sense Communications for the invitation to the launch party.

Singapore Restaurant Week
21-27 March 2011

Chew On This: Wanna do more than merely eat? Drink up with CULINAire Wine Deals- wines from Brown Brothers, Ruffino, Torres and Chapoutiers will be paired with your meal. Wanna do more than merely eat and drink? How about Eat, Drink, Love? A singles event to bring together food lovers (Moohahah. Pun not intended. Or maybe it is.) where you will swap seats at each course and get to meet a different person. More details here.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Veg + Seafood - Meat

I first heard of the pescetarian diet from M Eats who is a pescetarian. What exactly is it? Think of it as a vegetarian diet that also allows for seafood. No meat!

Then after reading about this pescetarian cafe in GourmetEstorie, I decided to swing by for a graze. After all, it is relatively near home. Yes, maybe it's the low-hanging fruit principle. ;)

Dann's Daily is a small cafe set up in the Eastwood estate. With just a small menu, we picked a few dishes to try and see how a dinner without meat would appeal.

The Set Meal ($10) included Organic Brown and Wild Rice with Sprouts served with Curry of the Day. I love the rice! Nicely chewy with a satisfying bite, the rice was tossed in fried shallot and olive oil (I think). Simple and satisfying. The curry was chockfull of root vegetables (radish, carrot, potato and even beetroot!), tau kwa and tau pok. It was creamy and a little sweet with the natural sweetness of the root veggies and soy items. But it packed a nice spicy note too.

Prawn Pasta Aglio Olio ($12.50) was also good with pasta (I'm guessing wholewheat pasta) and four sweet de-shelled, de-veined prawns. People who are not used to eating wholewheat pasta might find this a little rougher though. I detected an interesting turmeric touch which the staff later confirmed was in this dish.

Next came the Fish Soup ($8) which I found to be really average. The gingery broth was soothing but I felt that the fish slices were too thin and perhaps there could be more ingredients. It was a tad pricey for me with only fish slices, fresh shitake mushrooms, sprouts, ginger shreds and coriander in the bowl which costs $8. There wasn't rice or noodles included as well. :S

A more interesting fish dish was the Mackerel Mushroom Cheese Toasties ($5). Using essentially the same fish, mushroom and coriander, it was a pleasant alternative to the more common tuna sandwich. It was my first time having Spanish Mackerel (more commonly known locally as Batang) in a sandwich! Very surprisingly, I was alright with the coriander stalks in here.

For dessert, we had the Gula Melaka Steamed Cupcake ($3). Now, I was wondering why would people wanna steam cupcakes? Baking isn't unhealthy what. But I remembered my friend, Cherie, who steamed her cookies (I still don't know why) and tested her friendships. Lol. Anyway, this was more like a wa gou kueh (steamed bowl cake?) with a slightly dense, chewy texture. Nice, not overpowering gula malaka flavour.

Oh and this place seems rather kids-friendly. The sharp outer corners of the tables have protective "hands". There's even a small table and chair in one corner for junior to nomnomnom.

With no added MSG or heavy cooking (like deep-frying), the food here is simple and wholesome. A good break from too much meating.

Dann's Daily
20 Eastwood Road
Eastwood Centre
Tel: 6449 1355

Chew On This:
Apparently the water served here for drinking (FOC), used for soaking vegetables, cooking soups, boiling pasta etc is alkaline and is believed to be better for our health!

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Morning of Baking at AFC

I recently had the pleasure of spending a Saturday morning with some fellow foodies at the Asian Food Channel (AFC) studio at Orchard Central.

Chef Sue-Ann Lambert, AFC's resident chef, was on hand to demonstrate two simple recipes- Sugar Cookies and Chocolate Chip Biscotti.

Just for Valentine's Day's sake, we made heart-shaped cookies. Awww...

So here are my creations! Moohahaha.

But wait!

What's this? It's a bird. It's a plane. It's...nah, certainly not superman. Well, I attempted to make a cow but my hooves are not made for shaping. Lol. Thankfully, Camemberu came to the rescue! Having had loads of play dough experience with her kids, she shaped this cow cookie.

Some said it looked like a cat and since The Hungry Cat is probably someone else, I decided to inject a "moo" to bovinize it. Moohehe. And hey I've got sexy lips! ;)

For those who wanna try this simple Sugar Cookie recipe, here it is:
- 2 cups flour
- A pinch of salt
- 85g of butter, softened
- 170g sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs

- Preheat oven to 160°C.
- Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and mix to combine. Add salt, vanilla and flour and mix until dough just combines.
- Chill for 30 minutes.
- Roll chilled dough and cut with desired cutter.
- Transfer to baking tray and bake at 160°C for about 8 to 12 minutes or until edges of cookies turn golden brown.

For the Royal Icing:
- 2 large (60g) egg whites
- 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 cups (330g) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
- Food colouring (optional)

- In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg whites with the lemon juice until combined.
- Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined and smooth.
- Use icing immediately or transfer into an airtight container before it hardens.
- Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.

Besides the Sugar Cookies, we were also shown how to make these Chocolate Chip Biscotti.

In case it gets jealous, here's its recipe too:

- 1 cup of white or brown sugar
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup, 4 tablespoons) of butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
- A pinch of salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips

- Cream the sugar and butter together in a stand-p mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat for a few more minutes, then add the vanilla.
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt, then add to the mixer. Combine well then stir in the chocolate chips.
- Shape the dough into a log, approximately, 12 inches long and 3 inches wide with lightly floured hands. You may find it easier to divide the dough in half and form two shorter logs. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool until you can handle it. Slice diagonally, into 1/2-inch slices and return to the baking sheet. Bake again until the cookies turn light brown for about ten minutes. Flip them over and brown for another few minutes.
- Allow to cool and enjoy with a cup of espresso!

It was absolutely good with a hot cup of Nespresso cappuccino! Perfect for a break after a tiring week. :)

Moo had fun! Thank you to AFC and Kimberly of Fulford PR for the invitation.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Asian Food Channel Studio
#07-02 Orchard Central
Tel: 6834 4829
Opens Daily: 12noon to 8pm

Chew On This: Catch One Night a Malaysian Wedding- Chef Wan and watch well-known Malaysian chef, Chef Wan, as he plans and prepares for his daughter's wedding. With about 700 guests, all that media buzz and some very high expectations, this looks to be one epic wedding! Check out the scheduled timings here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lunch Meeting

It's nice to have a meeting and check out a restaurant at the same time- one of the reasons I'm thankful to be in F&B (more about my work in another post later). :)

Anyway, lunch meeting took us to OChre at the top of Orchard Central.

Doppio Carpaccio ($22) was a colourful plate of Hokkaido Scallop and
Parma Prosciutto ‘Pio Tosini’. Besides being a feast for the eyes, the appetising dish also appealed to me with the combination of fresh, luscious scallop and savoury prosciutto. The latter brought out a sweetness in the former.

Trio di Fegato Grasso ($28) featured foie gras in three ways- terrine, pan-fried and creme brulee. The terrine was great smeared over a bit of bread while the pan-fried foie gras was rich and good with the balsamic strawberry. But what I found to be really interesting was the creme brulee- foie gras creme brulee! A creamy custard with a nice balance between the savoury foie gras and sweet custard.

With three preparations of foie gras on one plate, this would make foie gras heads bob with pleasure.

For my mains, I tried the Risotto con Anatra Affumicata ($27) aka Smoked Duck & Radicchio Risotto. The flavour of the risotto was surprisingly more subdued than I had expected. But mouthfuls later, I understood it. The gentle flavours of white wine and onions supported the sharper, stronger flavour of the smoked duck nicely. This dish was no punchy powerhouse. It's delicate tastiness.

Dessert for me came in the form of Tiramisu ($10). A good size with light sponge and mascarpone that was creamy and not too heavy. Perfect for an end to a meal and when there's still work after this. ;) it's not the clouds. My camera lense fogged out the minute I stepped out.

Orchard Central
Tel: 6634 0423
Opens Daily: 11:30am–2:30pm; 6:30pm–10:30pm

Chew On This: OChre has a private dining room that can also be used as a meeting room! Yes, we had a meeting after this lunch meeting. Moohaha.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Chicken Pot Comfort

Having lunch in Suntec after church every Sunday for the past 10 years, a new makan place opening there will surely catch my eyes. And so lunch one Sunday was at the newly-opened Chang Feng Ji.

We dived straight for the Signature Hua Diao Kampung Chicken ($28 for small). A claypot with chicken in a herbal broth sounded comforting. And it was. The chicken pieces were not the most tender but had a rustic bite and feel to them which I rather enjoyed. The broth had plenty of Chinese herbs and a shot of hua diao wine. Instead of unpleasant bitter notes, it was rather sweet (not in the sugar sense) with the goodness of yu zhu (a herb also known as Solomon's seal).

Yu zhu is believed to be good for one's lungs, stomach and throat among many other benefits. Hey, it is believed to curb excessive hunger too! Moohahaha.

Anyway, the claypot dish also came with a plate of veggies with tang-o, long cabbage, tau pok, mushrooms, lotus roots and slices of huai shan (also known as Chinese wild yam). Huai shan is apparently good for the spleen, lowering blood sugar and pleasure pressure, and for improving appetite! Woot.

What scared me was the Mongolian Pork Ribs with Chili Sauce & Mayonnaise, Topped with Black & White Sesame Seeds ($12). Unfortunately, wayyyy too oily.

Good thing there was the Cabbage Cooked with Superior Stock ($10) to counter all that nasty grease. The nai bai cabbage was still crunchy and was cooked in a chicken (I think) broth with a very generous sprinkling of wolfberries.

With an in-house dessert stall, order your fill of bubble tea and shaved ice desserts.

I had an Iced Honey Green Tea ($2.50 for small) which was very fragrant and not too sweet.

I don't mind returning for that one pot of chicken!

Chang Feng Ji
Suntec City Mall #B1-011
Fountain Terrace
Tel: 6338 0116

Chew On This: There is no service charge! And they changed our plates pretty often!